September 7 MAWO Forum Report
On Tuesday September 7, 2010 antiwar and peace activists in Vancouver, Canada met at a public forum at Joe’s Café to discuss the war and occupation in Iraq. The forum, titled “Iraq: Has the War & Occupation Come to an End?”, was organized one week after US President Barack Obama declared an end to the combat mission in Iraq. The organizer of the event was Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO).
The forum was opened by MAWO Co-Chair Andrew Barry who introduced the evening with an hour of news documentaries and clips about the war and occupation of Iraq. The documentaries and news clips showed the history of US sanctions in Iraq, the beginning of the brutal bombing of Baghdad and Fallujah, and the tremendous suffering and misery created by the US led war and occupation.
Following the videos Andrew welcomed up Janine Solanki, an Outreach Coordinator with MAWO. Janine opened up her talk by focusing on the title of the forum: Iraq: Has the War & Occupation Come to an End?”
“How could the war and occupation of Iraq be over if the US government still has 50,000 troops in Iraq?” Janine asked. “Not to mention tens of thousands of private mercenary troops who have zero accountability. This unrelenting 7 year war has not come to an end, it has just changed phases. This is a beginning of long occupation of Iraq. The position of antiwar movement and working people has not been changed, US and all occupation forces must end the occupation of Iraq immediately.”
An open discussion followed Janine’s talk, which was lively and passionate. Different forum participants asked questions, debated, and engaged in a positive discussion about the nature of the war and occupation.
Janine wrapped up discussion by noting that “as the US government and its allies maintain their 50 000 + troop level in Iraq, in addition to private contractors and mercenaries, plus the legacy of 7+ years of complete bombardment and terror inflicted on the Iraqi people, the war is not simply over. Iraq is a crucial focus of the antiwar movement and must be in the spotlight until the war and occupation comes to an end.”